Blindness and visual impairment are more than just health difficulties in many countries, developed and developing alike, because vision is often not a top priority
FREMONT, CA: The pandemic has demonstrated to the rest of the world that the eye care sector does not have enough healthcare personnel, either now or in the future, to satisfy the needs of a growing and aging population. Blindness and visual impairment are more than just health difficulties in many countries, developed and developing alike, because vision is often not a top priority. The most common handicap in the world is uncorrected poor vision. Productivity loss is predicted to cost the world economy 272 billion dollars each year. It restricts educational attainment and poses a threat to public safety.
Near or far vision impairment affects at least 2.2 billion people worldwide, with a higher prevalence in rural and isolated areas, among women, the elderly, those with additional disabilities, and ethnic minorities. The good news is that 75 percent of blindness and visual impairment can be treated or avoided. Uncorrected refractive error is the largest cause of visual impairment and the second leading cause of blindness, and optometrists are the world's top providers of refractive error repair via spectacle lenses and contact lenses. Cataract is the most common cause of blindness in the world, and optometrists play a critical role in cataract diagnosis and referral for ocular surgery.
More eye care workers are needed all around the world, with some locations having a considerably bigger deficit than others. Blindness rates are eight times greater in Sub-Saharan Africa's western and eastern areas, as well as South Asia, than in high-income countries. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, there are 331,743 optometrists in the world. By 2030, Nigeria and India will require around 440,000 and 2,500,000 optometrists, respectively. According to the World Health Organization's global recommendation of a 1:600 practitioner-to-patient ratio, 14 million optometrists are required worldwide to offer effective and appropriate eye care services.